The start of a new year often has us feeling hopeful about achieving the goals we’ve set out for the year. At the same time, it’s very easy for us to fall out with our plans either because things don’t seem to be going as planned or we just might be going about it the wrong way.

According to Business Insider, ‘80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February’, meaning that success rates are very slim and to be fair ‘going home is much easier than going hard’. Among other goals we have for the year, career advancement is more often than not always somewhere on that list either in form of a promotion, pay rise, or a career change.  

I’ll be discussing four simple but key steps to help you achieve this.

1. Observe and write down work related difficulties. We currently live in an era of innovation, which is more valuable than maintenance and the essence of noting these challenges is to find solutions to them. While continually maintaining the work is good, it can only take you so far as this may not fully capture the value you bring to an organisation. Innovation can be found in the simple daily activities you engage in, from finding a more efficient way to improve a routine process to identifying areas to reduce costs for the company or your clients. The value you bring to an organisation is a key element of your negotiating power when it comes to asking for a pay rise, negotiating your salary with prospective employers or being interviewed for an internal position.

2. Write down every single progress. Do not just make a mental note of it, because our memory can fail us. Write it down and if this sounds too old fashioned then make notes on your phone or tablet or whatever device that best suits you. This also serves as a personal reminder of the progress you’re making when the going gets tough and yes it will get tough. These notes will also be helpful when updating your CV and answering behavioural interview questions.

3. Find your career model. Find the individual that represents some or all aspects of the career you’re working towards. In this present time, you don’t have to meet someone to learn from them, you can read about them through interviews, books they’ve written and so on. More importantly, identify the knowledge and skills they possess that will help you on your way. Learn them if you need to and don’t just stop there, keep improving.

4. Network. Network. Network. The importance of networking cannot be overemphasized. According to statistics, an estimated 70% of jobs are not advertised, often referred to as the Hidden Job Market. Access to this hidden job market is mostly done through referrals and/or personal recommendations.  This is one of the many things networking can do for you. The reason I have repeated Network three times is to remind you to network within your team, across departments and across industries.    

I hope you find these tips helpful and please share which tip you’re adding to your list and which already exists.